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New developments in ICT to improve competitiveness of manufacturing and construction sectors

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Ten British companies are to lead government-backed research, development and demonstration projects that will use talent within the UK’s information and communication technology sectors to improve productivity and competitiveness in manufacturing and construction.

The Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will award over £6 million of grant funding to the ten collaborative projects.  Including match-funding from the businesses taking part, the total value of the R&D will be over £12m.


The grant funding will stimulate the use of innovative information and communication technologies in the manufacturing and construction sectors, in which there are major opportunities to increase productivity and competitiveness.  ICT has a major role to play in many critical capabilities in manufacturing and construction, including automation, customisation, knowledge sharing across supply chains and simulation and modelling.

The ten projects will be undertaken by consortia led by: 4Projects Ltd, BRE (Building Research Establishment), Caterpillar UK Engines Company, Fully Distributed Systems, Housing 21, Johnson Tiles, M Wright and Sons, Simpact Engineering, Skanska and The Manufacturing Technology Centre.

The projects include research and development that is hoped to:
• Revolutionise the role of simulation in areas such as new product development and construction machine performance;
• Optimise design and manufacture demonstrators for structural manufacturing and construction;
• Develop a platform for engaging older adults in assessing purpose-built facilities and services;
• Enable condition-based asset management in construction and aerospace

The funding awards follow successful applications to the ICT for Manufacturing and Construction competition for collaborative research and development funding.  Focusing on the software components of ICT and the alignment of ICT systems with people and processes, the competition sought proposals that would develop new approaches to challenges in manufacturing and construction, in areas such as deriving & reusing knowledge, interoperability across supply chains, engaging users in design and operation processes and accelerating product and process innovation.

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